TRENDFORCE researchers claim the sapphire market will be spurred by wearable devices in 2015.
The research report titled "2014 Global Sapphire Market Report" was compiled by LEDinside, a research division of TrendForce. According to the research, the Apple iWatch will be released in late 2014, and will use sapphire watch covers.
The report goes on to state that iWatch sapphire watch covers are expected to account for six percent of global sapphire market demands, and that if iWatch sales reach the market’s optimistic forecast of 60 million in 2015, it will make up 27 percent of sapphire usage volume.
Sapphire is hard and scratch resistant, and has been used as watch covers in traditional luxury watches for many years. Its use in the mass wearables market would boost the market. However, the volume required would mean that the conventional sapphire manufacturing method, which requires Verneuil process to grow sapphire crystals, will be unable to meet handheld devices large market demands.
According to the report, the iWatch requires a special type of sapphire ingot to be manufactured to meet processing and design demands in later stages. It will come in male and female models, and completely use sapphire watch covers, with the male variant having a 1.66 inch display, and the female version with a 1.33 inch display.